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US Religious Freedom Watchdog Recommends Blacklisting India Over Anti-Muslim Violence

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The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has suggested that India be categorised as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ because of the religious and structural discrimination against the Muslims of India, during the Modi government.

“Perhaps the steepest, and most alarming deterioration in religious freedom conditions is in India,” the vice chair of the USCIRF vice said after the release of the Commission’s annual report.

Thirteen other countries were also to be recommended for the same list. The report said that Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan and the recently added, India, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam, will be on the current list of “countries of particular concern”.

According to the US State Department, a nation comes under the category of “countries of particular concern” because their governments engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom”.

“The Citizenship (Amendment) Act in India potentially exposes millions of Muslims to detention, deportation, and statelessness when the government completes its planned nationwide National Register of Citizens,” the Commission’s Vice Chair, Nadine Maenza, added.

The report has also taken into account the multiple instances on which elected political figures have made hateful comments about the Muslim population. They hail from the ruling party, BJP.

The report recommended to the US government to impose targeted sanction on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ assets and/or barring their entry into the United States under human rights-related financial and visa authorities, citing specific religious freedom violations.

The USCIRF Commissioner appreciated Pakistan’s efforts saying, “One of the things that has been important for us with Pakistan is that the government has been willing to engage in dialogue about how religious freedom concerns can be addressed.”

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